Doing Business in Australia – 25 August 2015

August, 2015

In The Media

Agribusiness

Towns lock horns in abattoir funding bid – Townsville Bulletin [05.08.2015]

Hughenden and Charters Towers are continuing their battle to see who can secure an abattoir investor first. The towns have previously put forward plans to establish an abattoir in the North to boost the beef industry, with international investors to make visits to both regions over the next fortnight.

A group of Chinese investors will make their third visit to Charters Towers this week as part of ongoing discussions while a potential Hong Kong investor will visit Hughenden for the first time next week.

Flinders Shire Council mayor Greg Jones said discussions were still ongoing and he still believed Hughenden was the best location for a Northern abattoir, despite proposals from other regions.

Abattoir plans are also in place in the Townsville region, with Burdekin canefarmer David Cox of Davco Agriculture planning to build an abattoir at Dingo Park.

Legislation

Foreign investment law changes welcome for three reasons – AFR [11.08.2015]

It has been a busy period for proposed changes to Australia’s foreign investment laws. In addition to the increased fees that will apply to applications under Australia’s foreign investment laws from December this year, in late May the government released a paper outlining proposals to simplify and modernise our foreign investment laws. There are three areas worthy of note.

First, currently the foreign investment rules relating to foreign government investors are not incorporated into legislation but are instead set out in policy documents. It is proposed that the policy be formally incorporated into legislation.

Second it is proposed to harmonise the general threshold at which a foreign investors is effectively required to obtain foreign investment approval to bring it into line with Australian takeovers law, which would see it go from 15% to 20%.

Third, it is proposed to incorporate some of the exemptions that exist to the takeovers rules into the foreign investment legislation. This will include exemptions for increases in interests by reason of rights issues, dividend reinvestment plans for compulsory acquisitions following a takeover, and also introducing an exemption for offshore underwriters.

Mining

Fortescue shares soar on asset sales talk; Resources – SMH [06.08.2015]

Fortescue shares have soared on the hint of possible asset sales. The sharemarket has given Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group a very clear message that it needs to sell assets in order to survive the iron ore price rout, with Wednesday’s speculation that the company might raise cash through asset sales pushing its share price up nearly 10 per cent by lunchtime.

While Forrest has long held that his company can ride out the iron ore price storm by chasing down production costs, the emerging consensus on the medium-term future of iron ore is that the current price band of around US$50 ($A67) to US$55 per tonne is not an aberration – it’s the new normal.

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